She’s recently discovered imaginary friends, actually an imaginary family to be exact. Her caterpillar family lives in her princess tent to the left side of her room. She puts them to sleep at night and sometimes her caterpillar mom needs certain items brought to her (what a luxury), which means the caterpillar home becomes quite full on occasion.
I find myself smiling as I peer around the corner, watching her care for these invisible creatures. I never want this imagination of hers to go away, but rather for it to flourish and develop into a deep, abiding creativity that pulses through her life.
So I pray right there at her door that she wouldn’t lose her wonder and imagination in a world of desks and a flurry of activities. That she would see crayons as pathways to farmable artwork and center activities as ways for her to get her hands dirty and explore. I pray she doesn’t lose her innocence this year, not even when she shares about her made-up world. But that she would believe whole-heartedly in her thoughts and ideas that others might believe with her – not dismiss her and her blow out the spark in her eyes.
And then there was the time she and I stood with a poster board sign that read, “Two Blondes Lemonade Stand.” We were perched on the sidewalk of a somewhat busy road, sweating and waving, with hopeful hearts of a Barbie waiting on the other side of all this hard work.
Cars zoomed by with lots of waves but hardly any stops. My heart grew anxious. “Would business build? Don’t people care anymore?” My mind whizzed down a path of negativity and harsh statements. And I looked at my little girl, digging down deeply for optimism and joy and said, “Don’t worry, they’ll come.”
She looked right back at me and said, “Of course, mommy. They just aren’t thirsty, yet.”
Again, I found myself praying right there on the curb with sweat beading at the back of my neck, “ Lord, thank you for her simple heart and the good she sees in everyone. May it not be lost this year. May it waltz through the halls with her and into the playground. And when no one wants to play with her, may she still see the good. May the love she receives in our home be love enough to bind her identity securely. And may I keep learning from her and continue to see the good.”
It’s as if the prayers I pray for her often turn into humble reminders for my very own spirit.
Like when she prayed at the table and said sweetly, tenderly, “God, thank you for this food. Thank you for this very beautiful day. Thank you for my family. I hope you have a good day, too, God. Amen.”
My husband and I locked eyes. How kind of her. “I hope you have a good day, God.”
Unselfish and unfiltered, never once have I prayed for God to have a good day. Now don’t get me down the path of theological debate. That’s not the point. The bottom line is she cared about God, too. She didn’t just ask and ask and ask, she thought about Him.
What a beautiful reminder for my somewhat selfish heart.
Moms (and dads), we can pray for our preschoolers to be saved. We can pray for them to hide God’s Word in their hearts. We can pray for their obedience (and Lord knows we need for them to be obedient!) We can sit on couches and teach them to fold their hands and give away their cares to God. And all of these are good – some of them the best – things we can do for our children.
But today I am praying for her wonder not to be lost in hallways. For her pure heart to give way to lifelong friendships and for her simple love for God to teach me in the way everlasting. I’m praying in doorways, on sidewalks and on couches. And He listens and longs for that wonder to last – because it’s the same wonder that builds our faith and helps us walk in the mystery of Almighty God.
Jesus said, “Leave the children alone, and don’t try to keep them from coming to me, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
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